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06 September 2011, 10:08

Swiss government unblocks open source court software release

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FOSS icon The committee that controls the Swiss Federal court has moved to allow the publication of OpenJustitia as open source. The release of the software had been blocked in July as proprietary companies claimed the release of the document management system (DMS) for courts under a GPLv3 licence would amount to the state interfering in the software market by cross-subsidisation.

An report says that the control committee sent the Federal Court questions about the DMS system to establish the legal basis for the development of the software. The court responded in August saying it was not entering into competition. Because the cost of the development, which began in 2007, has already been written off and anyone wanting to modify the software would have to bear the costs of those modifications themselves, the court said that it considered there was no cross-subsidisation.

It noted that it had created the software on top of existing open source components (a database and search engine) by adding code specific to the court's needs, which was in line with the government's own e-Government strategy which encourages sharing and reuse of data and services.

On 2 September, it was announced that the control committee concurred with the responses and, in a move welcomedGerman language link by the Swiss parliamentary group on digital sustainability, gave the green-light for the release of the software. A Federal Court spokesperson says they are currently deciding on the exact date for publication of the software.


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